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London Property Magazine-Assured Shorthold Tenancy- Q & A

Q: I am a tenant joining an existing Assured Shorthold Tenancy. What are my responsibilities during the tenancy and what are the implications of entering an existing tenancy?
A: There are a number of important factors you need to consider prior to joining an existing tenancy. Firstly, you will normally be required to pass the reference process and you will require the Landlord’s approval to join the tenancy.  It is important that you read and understand the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement prior to signing. Remember, it is a legally binding document and we recommend that you get independent advice on any clauses you do not understand.   You, with your co-tenant’s will be required to meet the individual clauses within the Tenancy Agreement. It is important to know that all tenants are jointly and severally liable for the rent as a whole, rather than individual shares, so if one person fails to pay their rent,  you will be collectively liable for the arrears.
It is also important to remember that this is an existing Assured Shorthold Tenancy with an inventory and schedule of condition already in place. You should ask to see this report before you sign the agreement and move in as you will be taking on joint responsibility for the condition of the property. If there are already damages to the property or contents, this could adversely affect the amount of deposit that is returned to you even if you have not been directly responsible.